Chasing History - Death Valley - Spring Break 2016 - Part FIve
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The Final Chapter -
The Lady loves the
Alabama Hills for a stopover night on the way home. A magical place set up
against the back drop of the soaring Sierra Nevada crest, if you can find a
secluded camping spot with the area's rising popularity, it is about as perfect
as it gets.
We headed out from
Cottonwood Canyon to Stovepipe Wells. Exiting the canyon, the vast panorama of
Death Valley was obscured in a huge plume of dust. A strong wind from the north
was ripping down the valley. It wasn't too bad driving across the sandy area,
the wind speed increased right on the edge of Stovepipe Wells with all tents flat and well
weighted down with rocks.
That suggestion the
Lady had was to take a couple of hours and try to find a petroglyph site we had
on the list. We parked the truck and headed cross country. After about 45
minutes we came upon an old trail. We love finding stuff like this!
A few of the rocks along
the trail were adorned with ancient art work.
We were in the right
place. The trail worked its way along a wash. The wash led to an impressive
One tank in the
series of drop offs still held water, but we saw no animal tracks indicating
this water was accessible for wildlife.
A small hilltop held
the largest collection of petroglyphs. Many were so old to be almost covered
with desert varnish.
The most prominent
panel appeared much newer in age.
The variety of
artwork was very nice. I found this tree or branch interesting.
In the Alabama Hills
we found a small two track we had planned, at some point, to explore. Today
would work just fine. One camp close to the main road and the rest of the area
was ours, pretty nice for a Saturday afternoon. We set up camp.
After popcorn and
snacks, we waited for the deeply slanting afternoon light. We walked,
explored, and the Lady checked on the possibility of neighbors.
The afternoon light
just got better and better. Our quiet walk was relaxing, refreshing, and allowed
for reflection back on the incredible adventures we had enjoyed on this trip.
Can someone tell me, is it wind erosion that cups the bottom of these boulders?
Shadows fell across
the landscape until evening color came that lasted only a moment.
Wind rocked us
overnight; so use to the wind now, we felt like babes being rocked to sleep in
a cradle. We heard one distant Great Horned Owl.
The morning sky was
cloud covered. For only a moment the sun peaked through from the east.
This was a splendid end
to a wonderful trip.
Since our return, we
continue to dream of returning to Death Valley with its wealth of secret
canyons to explore. There are, of course many more old signs out there to bring
us back. And, I just heard a story that I just might get involved researching.
It concerns the mysterious disappearance on an old miner working the graveyard
shift in the Coffin Mine high up in Deadman Canyon located in the Funeral
Mountains, in, of course, Death